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Taking the lead in guide-dog training

15th April 2015

Taking the lead in guide-dog training

by Lu Feiran

THE "father of Chinese guide dog training" is a 49-year-old animal behavior expert who watched the Paralympics in Athens in 2004 and saw blind and visually impaired athletes from around the world using guide dogs.

Similarly impaired Chinese athletes had none. They managed with canes or were guided by volunteers.

"At the games' opening ceremony, blind athletes from many countries had guide dogs with them, but Chinese athletes had none, so I thought I should make an effort to fill in the blank for China," Wang Jingyu told Shanghai Daily in a recent telephone interview.

And in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, a few Chinese athletes did use guide dogs trained by Wang and others. A condition of winning the Olympics and Paralympics bid was that foreign athletes be allowed to bring their guide dogs.

"People praised the guide dogs' outstanding performance, which was very encouraging to me," Wang said.

Wang, a native of Shanghai, runs China Guide Dog Training Center in Dalian, Liaoning Province. It's the first and only specialized center; other training is carried out by a police dog training center in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

A new "class" of three dogs graduated in late January and have been put to work in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces. All are working well with their human companions.

The dogs are free, but training costs more than 100,000 yuan (US$16,155).

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